The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recently given a thumbs-up for the production digital medicine and distribution of the world’s first smart pill. Known as tech medicine or digital medicine, the pill is embedded with a tiny digestible sensor, that links to a reader attached to the patient via an electronic patch.
Like swallowing a tiny computer? Well, in a way, yes. After the pill reaches the stomach, the patch then gathers data that can be converted into readings via mobile phone or computer, providing doctors with insights on how their patients are doing.
The digital pill has been first included into a drug popularly known as Abilify (from Otsuka Pharmaceuticals) which is used for treating schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and possibly Alzheimers’. Thanks to tech & in collaboration with Proteus Digital Health, who manufactures the sensors and patches, the smart pill’s main goal is to alert doctors if a patient has or has not taken his meds as necessary. Such issues have caused numerous complications in other patients’ cases, such a scenario that Otsuka and Proteus aim to prevent in the future. This will save billions of dollars in preventive care and possibly save thousands of lives.
Otsuka Pharmeceuticals has been in the medicine business for nearly sixty years. Based in Tokyo and Osaka, Japan, the huge firm is known for its flagship brand and sports drink, Pocari Sweat, as well as Abilify, which is also said to be the world’s leading medication for bipolar disorder and schizophrenia to date.
Meanwhile, Proteus Digital Health, founded in Redwood City, California, is a front runner in tech medicine & digital medicine in the country. Among the services that Proteus aims to provide to the masses include a more efficient communication tool between patients and doctors, allowing for clearer and more accurate monitoring of medical treatments being given.
Proteus has developed apps and other online tools that monitor a patient’s health, opening up clearer lines of communication to their respective health care providers. The Proteus patch, as mentioned earlier, has been in application long before the proposed partnership with Otsuka, and it has been a brilliant tool that collected patient data like blood pressure, heart rate, and more.
This is probably just the beginning of the age of tech medicine or digital medicine. While there is still much debate on whether or not this can be adapted by all fields of medicine, one can only wait and see how far along this can take us in terms of health management and a better way of life.